The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Wimsett, James William
Record 1 of 12

System Number: 08751
Date: [6 December 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: James Anderson Rose[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 4/27
Document Type: ALS

'recd 6 Dec - 1878'


Dear Rose -

I send enclosed[3] writ and note from Lawyers "re Wimsett" - A word or two from you would perhaps stay proceedings there -

Meanwhile things are awfully hot here - Man in the place - has been for some time in this matter of Nightingale[4] - Do try and see Mackrell[5] - 21 Canon [sic] Street at once - They were going to sell out[6] on Wednesday - The Bills to be posted next morning - Saw Mackrell [p. 2] who was riled first with little Allinghams[7] attack &c &c - - but he will tell you -

Do get me out of this mess - I will come down and see you a moment this evening at about 6. if you wish but will not trouble you if not necessary -

I was run after in Bond St. this morning by the commissionaire of the Grosvenor Gallery who told me that he has now lots of people looking in calling every day to ask where Mr Whistler's pictures can be seen! I told him to send them to me here - As you say look what an advertisement the whole affair[8] has been - but my dear Rose the Philistines are upon me! -

Ever Yours

J A McN. Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [6 December 1878]
Dated from date of receipt in J. A. Rose's hand at top of page.

2.  James Anderson Rose
James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more].

3.  enclosed
Writ and note untraced. They would have come from Hughes & Co., solicitors for James William Wimsett (b. ca 1809), nurseryman at Ashburnham Park, King's Road, Chelsea. JW was unable to pay off the debt as Wimsett later appears in JW's bankruptcy papers, #11711.

4.  Nightingale
Benjamin Ebenezer Nightingale (b. 1838), builder [more]. This concerns JW's dispute with Nightingale over the construction cost of the White House which far exceeded the original estimate. Obliged by the London Metropolitan Board of Works to make additions to the design of the house, JW was indignant at the size of the final bill. The dispute contributed to the growing crisis in JW's finances (see his correspondence with E. W. Godwin, #08736, #01748; and G. & W. Webb to JW, #08735; see also Godwin's account dated 29 August, #08843.)

5.  Mackrell
John Mackrell (1824-1909), solicitor, of Mackrell & Co. [more], solicitor for B. E. Nightingale.

6.  sell out
John Mackrell seems to have been keen to settle the matter of Nightingale v Whistler through the sale of the White House. An auctioneer drew up a list of his proposed charges in #11929.

7.  Allingham
Theodore Frederick Allingham (b. 1845), solicitor [more]. Allingham had been dealing with the bills of numerous small tradesmen to whom JW owed money, including Nightingale. However by late December 1878 he seems to have handed matters over to J. A. Rose (see T. F. Allingham to S. Price, #12044)

8.  whole affair
That is, JW's recent libel suit against John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic, social reformer and artist [more]. The suit was in response to Ruskin's criticism of JW's works, especially Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (YMSM 170), in his periodical Fors Clavigera. On 2 July 1877 he accused JW of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face' in a review of the I Summer Exhibition of the Grosvenor Gallery, London. See Ruskin, John, 'Letter the Seventy-ninth' Fors Clavigera, 2 July 1877, pp. 181-213. The trial took place at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878.